Monday, April 30, 2012

Lace, Sparkle, and Elegance

When two girls are planning a wedding, a common question that they are often asked is “Who is wearing the tux and who is wearing the dress?” Since Stephanie and I both identify as femmes, we were both pretty much settled on wearing dresses. 

Femmes!

We’ve noticed, however, that many same-sex female couples don’t wear traditional white gowns and tend to opt for colorful frocks, in which purple often seems to be a favorite. For a brief moment, we thought about taking the non-traditional route, but ultimately decided that wearing the “princess” white gown was a rite of passage that we were not willing to sacrifice. Not to mention, Stephanie pointed out that during the late 1800s, women began wearing white wedding dresses at a higher rate after the late Queen Victoria chose to wear a white gown on her wedding day. This decision was made by her royal majesty as a means of demonstrating that she is modest with her wealth and not frivolous since affluent brides often wore colorful gowns. 

Queen Victoria

Our motto: when in doubt, refer to history to help guide you in your decision-making process! 

Corrine’s Experience

I was very nervous about finding the perfect dress. I looked on-line, but with so many choices out there it was hard to narrow down my selection. I felt like we had a lot of time since our engagement was over a year and a half long, but as soon as  August came along, just a little over 6 months after my engagement, my mother insisted I make an appointment for a collection that a nearby boutique was carrying for a limited time. I made an appointment for my first gown fitting, which my mom and younger sister, also my maid of honor, attended with me. I wanted to try on three styles that the designer was carrying, one of which I hated. I loved the lacy one and another with rhinestones, but the third was a ballroom gown and just had way too much fabric. I couldn’t make my decision that day and the collection was moving along. I felt in my heart that none of these dresses were for me. I loved the look and my mom did tear up when she saw me wearing it, but I needed more time to make a decision. I don’t like to feel pressured, especially since I knew something else would come along.

Dress fitting number two was in the same day. I was excited because they had more of a selection and they were close to my apartment complex. I tried on several dresses and loved a couple of them. One I actually considered purchasing and had the sales girl write down the information for me. What stopped me was the notion that they were exceptionally rude. They made me feel as though I was interrupting them while they gossiped and used their cell phones. I was upset because I truly loved the dress I tried on, but I didn’t want to give them any money. I don’t know the reason for their behavior, perhaps because I was marrying a woman or perhaps because my wedding was over a year away. Either way, I knew I had to pack my bags and take my business elsewhere. My mom and sister were helpful in reassuring me that I’d find the one and of course Stephanie was wonderfully supportive. 

Fairytale Wishes

After this second fitting, I resumed my research on-line. I found a bridal shop located in Manhattan that sells dresses donated by other shops and collections when they are the last of their style or size and all the proceeds benefit NYC children. I tried on several dresses, both within and outside my budget. I tried on a David Tutura and a Vera Wang. I enjoyed both dresses, but they were just not my taste. I wished I could have found a dress at the bridal shop that day. This is partially because Stephanie found her dress that day at a separate boutique and because while my mom was enjoying her time seeing all the different dresses, she wanted me to find my dress and stop dragging her all over East coast to view them. I felt frustrated and pressured after this fitting and needed to collect myself before being able to look again.

My fourth dress fitting was much more positive. I went to a boutique near my hometown in Connecticut with Stephanie, as well as my mom, sister, and my best friend (bridesmaid). This boutique held a variety of designer dresses, which made my exceedingly excited! Stephanie was not allowed to see me trying on bridal gowns in case I found my dress, but she did participate in the bridal party dress selection. I had reviewed some dresses on-line and fell in love with a strapless gown that wouldn't leave my mind. It was a full body with lace, beading, and sparkle. It was amazing. I added some other dresses to my list and handed it over to the sales girl on a cold December night. I hung my coat up and with the help of my sister, tried on my first choice. It was stunning. Everyone loved it. I felt amazing and knew this was it. I decided, just to be fair to the other dresses I pulled off the rack, to give them a chance as well. During this time, I discovered that the other dresses were either too heavy, had too much fabric or not enough lace, and not enough sparkle. 

Every one of them had something wrong. To make my decision final, I needed to try on my first choice dress once more. This time we added a tiara and lost the extra puff at the bottom. This truly was THE dress. My lovely mom purchased it for me and I was pleased it was within (and under) my original budget. With each fitting, my budget seemed to decrease along with my nerves. I was so thankful and breathed a sigh of relief when I finally decided on my dress and it was purchased! 

Stephanie’s thoughts on Corrine’s experience…

I browsed the selection of bridal party dresses with Natalie and Yvonne while Cori chose a selection of dresses that she wanted to try on. Once she was ready to model the dresses, I continued to keep myself occupied since it was decided that this was the one aspect of the wedding planning that we wanted to keep separate from each other. I could hear the girls giggling and sharing compliments as Cori modeled the dresses. I overheard them talking about one particular dress that Corrine tried on twice. I couldn’t make out the full dialogue, but I could hear the gasps and words such as “elegant” and “beautiful” being tossed around. It took every ounce of my willpower to not sneak a peek at my future bride. My heart was racing as I thought about how amazing Corrine is going to look on our wedding day. At that moment I felt lightheaded and had to take a seat, far away from the dressing rooms, and gather myself. 

Corrine's Wedding Dress

Stephanie’s Experience

I’m the type of girl who knows what she wants and goes after it, no questions asked. I was initially nervous about finding my wedding dress due to my history of anorexia nervosa and body dysmorphic disorder, but I was determined to remain confident. I began my dress search via internet. The choices where endless and it quickly became overwhelming. To help limit my search, I began to make a list of what I wanted most from my dream dress. The first thing that came to mind was the idea of purchasing my dress from an indie designer. I googled “indie wedding dress designers" and I found a short list of various designers. I skimmed through the list and found Ivy and Astor. I chose Ivy and Astor because the name struck me in a positive way, and upon visiting their site, I was in awe of their fairytale-like style. Originally, I dreamed of having a big and princess-like dress with a lot of sparkle and lace. This dream rapidly shifted when I discovered a beautiful dress called “Sweet Dreams” in the short bridal dresses collection. The dress is strapless, layered with lace and tulle, and it had a fitted bodice that dips in the back. Additionally, the skirt peeks out from a high to low hemline. The leaf lace appliques is what sold me completely. I thought it would be perfect for a fall wedding!

Upon finding my dress, I did a search to locate boutiques that carries the Ivy and Astor line, as well Sweet Dreams design. I couldn’t just order the dress without having a proper fitting; although, I wanted to ordered it right then and there due to my impulsive nature. I chose to make an appointment for a fitting at Lovely Brides, which is located in lower Manhattan. I attended the fitting with my mother, while Corrine and her mother went to another dress fitting for Cori in upper Manhattan. I tried on 6 dresses in total and I felt beautiful in every one of them, which was such a relief. All my insecurities had vanished the moment I stepped into my very first dress. My mother smiled at me and told that I looked beautiful. The sixth dress was the Sweet Dreams design. The dress completely lived up to my expectations. My mother ordered and paid for my dress and I was in complete bliss. At one moment, I felt myself becoming slightly obsessive about the size of my dress, but I did my best to utilize my recovery skills. I wasn't about to let my disease ruin a perfect moment. I felt beautiful and healthy, and I knew I looked perfect. At the end of the day, that is all that matters. 

Lovely Wedding Dresses
  
In the beginning of April, I received an e-mail from Lovely Brides that my dress was delivered and ready to be mine. I made an appointment for a final fitting and pick-up last Saturday, hoping that my mother could accompany me. Unfortunately she was unable to come due to work conflicts. I asked Corrine to come with me and she happily agreed under the condition that she would not see me in my wedding dress. We made the decision that we will not see each other until the wedding day because we wanted the authentic looks of awe and love captured on film. I tried to convince Cori to see me in my dress should she could give me feedback during the fitting. Thankfully, due to Corrine’s rational and patient nature, she told me “no” and insisted on waiting until the wedding day. 

I changed into my dress and fell in love all over again. I kindly asked the consultant to fetch me a headband that I’ve been eying so I can have a better visual. The headband had crystal encrusted leaves, which seemed to compliment my dress perfectly. The consultant placed the headband on my head, framing my loose curls, and I became breathless. Without any hesitation, I purchased the headband along with my wedding dress. 
 
Corrine’s thoughts on Stephanie’s experience…

Stephanie spent all day trying to talk me into seeing her in her wedding gown. She stated that it wasn’t really a big deal seeing her in the dress today because her hair and make-up isn’t done and she didn’t have all her accessories on. She mostly wanted my input since her mom was unable to accompany her to her dress fitting. I almost agreed. I had originally planned on going with her and her mom and just waiting at Starbucks, but I went in to browse the shop for bridal accessories. I sat just outside the dressing room waiting for Stephanie and in that moment, I realized this isn’t where I wanted to have my first sight of my bride in her dress. The butterflies were growing as I thought of seeing her and how beautiful she’s going to look in her dress. I stood up and stepped out of the room. 

Stephanie's Wedding Dress

We can barely hold our excitement in anticipation of October 13th of this year!! xox


6 comments:

  1. Awwww both of your dresses are stunning, you guys must be counting down the days now! My mum work's in a Bridal Store and I love choosing my favourite dresses there - she's made me promise not to try them on until I'm actually engaged though. It's so lovely seeing all your wedding plans.

    Carley xx

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    1. Thank you! That is awesome that your mom works at a bridal store and I must say, great willpower! I would've tried on my favorites when she wasn't looking! :)

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  2. Your dresses are both stunning, and both so unique and unlike any others I've seen before - which just adds to how special they are. So glad you didn't see each other in your dresses, we too have agreed that that will be saved for that special moment on our wedding day, you only get that gasp of breath and love and awe and wonder overtakes you and you see your one in their gown once...and you want it to be on your wedding day!

    We can't wait to see the pictures of you in your gorgeous dresses :)

    L xx
    2bridesto2mummies.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you! In the end, we were very happy that we didn't see each others' dresses. We are super excited to see what you girls are planning to wear! Can't wait to your photos... the both of you are going to look beautiful as well. xox

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  3. I'm incredibly excited for you two, what a wonderful post! I cannot wait to see photos of your wedding day. It made me tear up with happiness reading this. Thank you so much for sharing!!!! Love you two!

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